A year ago, Newcity had not yet begun the monthly ritual of a letter from the editor. As we stood on the ledge watching our national political nightmare prepare to unfold, I can’t recall a single note of optimism that I might have struck. Now, at least, a year later, with many of our worst fears realized, we seek slivers of light to bask in, such as the fact that we’re a quarter of the way through the Trump regime and nuclear war has not yet started. Or that only half of the voters in Alabama think a pedophiliac creep would be better suited to represent them in the U.S. Senate than a lawyer who prosecuted the remaining KKK bombers who killed the four little girls in an Alabama church in 1963 decades after their evil deed. Slivers.
Meanwhile, journalism has found fresh vitality in the United States, fueled by Trump’s crusade to discredit reporting, as well as its central role in unleashing the cultural tidal wave against the pervasive institutional legacy of sexual misconduct, sparked by the New York Times investigation into the horrific reign of Harvey Weinstein in the movie business, then spreading across high-profile corridors of power in culture, media and politics. (Trump’s well-documented trail of offensive treatment of women would have gotten him fired by now from his previous job as TV reality-show host. Sadly, the standards for being President of the United States are not yet so high. Yet.)
Chicago culture has not been spared its own revelations, from the culinary world to film to two central topics of this edition of Newcity, theater and comedy. Chicago preceded the national trend n 2016 when the Chicago Reader published an exposé of the long history of sexual misconduct associated with Profiles Theatre and the advocacy group Not In Our House rose to the forefront; that theater was soon disbanded. But that was just the beginning, and observers of our Players list might notice the continuing effects of this long-overdue reckoning.
In the midst of this, it was easy to choose this year’s “Player of the Moment”: a movement having its moment, one that intends to bring social justice to an industry that has long suffered from the hypocrisy of the values it so often espouses on its stages being undermined by the reality of its practices behind the curtain.
To a better tomorrow.
Look for Newcity’s January Players 2018 print edition at over 1000 Chicago-area locations this week.